When people think of exercise they consider it in conjunction with losing weight or simply building muscle mass. But the benefits of being active go beyond just looking good and feeling great. For drug and alcohol addicts, physical fitness is a critical component of any recovery program. It helps people in recovery stay sober and also makes them more likely to succeed in their long-term goals of pursuing sobriety and getting back on track with their lives.
Here’s how physical fitness can help you stay sober:
Exercise Stimulates the Release of Endorphins
Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which are brain chemicals linked to feelings of well-being. Endorphins are also a natural painkiller and mood booster. They also create a feeling of euphoria and happiness, which can help with sleep and stress levels. The more endorphins you have in your system, the more likely it is that you’ll feel good—and that’s especially important when you’re trying to stay sober.
Exercise Helps You Sleep
Exercise improves sleep quality because it helps reduce levels of stress hormones like cortisol that are released during exercise. In fact, studies show exercise may be just as effective at improving sleep as taking medications for insomnia. These positive effects on sleep quality can also contribute to improved overall health because poor sleeping habits can lead to mental health problems like depression or anxiety disorders.
Exercise Helps Manage Detox Symptoms
Exercise can be a safe and effective way to manage detox symptoms and withdrawal. While detoxing from drugs or alcohol people may feel depressed, anxious, have poor sleep quality, increased cravings, and more. Physical activity can help relieve withdrawal symptoms.
Exercise also helps with cravings by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, which decreases feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. It’s why some people enter rehab programs in beautiful places. Many people choose to detox in Palm Springs for instance because of the close proximity to beautiful mountains and the ability to get away just for the weekend if needed.
Exercise Improves Mental Health
Addiction is frequently associated with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, are common among people who have struggled with substance abuse. If you are struggling with addiction, you may have noticed that your moods have become more erratic. This can be a result of alcohol or drug use in combination with other factors such as stress or trauma. But because exercise can release endorphins, it helps boost moods and decreases anxious feelings or depressed feelings. This can make people more likely to stay sober after detoxing.
Exercise Helps People Set Goals
Whether you’re lifting weights, walking, or starting a running regimen, exercise can help. People who exercise regularly learn how to set goals and take steps to achieve them. Those coming out of addiction need to learn how to do this so they can continue to stay sober. It helps them to have something to focus on, helps boost their confidence, and gives them a healthy outlet for stress and frustration. Setting small goals like walking or lifting weights regularly can later help people set big goals for their careers and their future.
Exercise Helps You Manage Stress in Healthy Ways
Many people who end up addicted to drugs or alcohol start using it in small ways to help them cope with stress. Some people wanted more focus and mental clarity while others wanted to relax from a hard day’s work. Instead of turning to alcohol to reduce stress, physical fitness is a better solution. Not only that but heading to the gym instead of the bar after work can help you make new friends who have different motivations. Some people even choose to set up a home gym so they don’t need to travel to get to a good workout.
Exercise and physical activity help tremendously when people are in addiction recovery. It helps them sleep, becomes a healthy outlet for stress, and so much more. Because of the ways that drugs rewire the brain, it’s important to participate in activities when you’re sober and clean that impact the brain in positive ways instead. People who exercise regularly during recovery are more likely to stay sober and clean without relapses.
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